Marketing Your Business

We often receive calls from organizations stating “our marketing strategy is not working”. When we explore their strategy we find that their marketing strategy is in fact an advertising strategy. Advertising is merely a component of marketing; the true marketing plan includes business development, retention, market growth and diversification. It essentially parallels the business plan.

There are two elementary components that must be reviewed prior to developing a modular marketing plan and strategy.

Firstly, knowing your business and its offerings:

Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) owners and operators are fully aware of their product and service offerings. Having an understanding of your business is critical to the development of an adaptable and modular marketing strategy.

The analysis of your organization should include both internal and external strengths and benefits, differentiation from your competitors and where you fit in the market place.

What do you and your business have, that the competition does not?
Often it takes an outsider to view your business strengths and differences, allowing you to reach your potential.

Secondly, knowing your market and clients:

Dependent upon your specific business, your market may be large or small. The key element of a market analysis is to ascertain the key elements of your organization as noted previously. Your market, will be those people that are in need of your service or product offerings.

To qualify the market you must consider the economic sustainability of your potential market at both micro and macro levels. Additionally, you will need to assess the attributes of your clients and their individual needs. Finally, one must assess the markets current point in relation to its life cycle.

Specific business groups may be seasonally based and therefore have to target their market during the lead up to their intense business period. Alternatively, your business may not be seasonally dependent, yet as a result of changing weather you may have less work in a particular season.

Your marketing plan should be designed to target the quieter periods while maintaining continuous and active marketing through the year.

Knowing your business and market needs,
allows you to structure your marketing plan to best serve you.

It is paramount to continually review your market segment to confirm its short, medium and long-term sustainability and to develop a marketing strategy that allows for structured and measurable growth.

Basic Marketing Techniques

A. Letterbox Drop: This involves the distribution of material in pamphlet, note or magnet form to households in specific areas. In many cases this is a mass produced generic pamphlet or leaflet stating your business name contact details and what you have to offer. Generally local retailers and trade groups use this technique. Although an excellent technique; todays competitive market requires a different approach. One that shows quality, reliability and is easy to find and retain.

The question is does “the letterbox drop” provide the return on investment you estimate or is it merely costing you, your hard earned dollars for little return?

B. Local or Regional Newspaper: This has been the primary mode of advertising for many organizations for decades. It is cost effective and reaches a good audience in the geographic area you wish to target. However, its readership levels are reducing. If you were to walk around you local neighborhood, how many would you find laying on the footpath?

Additionally, the service advertisements are often listed in alphabetical order so we see a raft of triple and even quadruple ‘A’ services just to put them at the top of the advertising list.

If you are M’s Services, T’s textiles, or Z Retailer
you will appear at the bottom of the list.

C. Local, Regional and National Phone Directories: Prior to the online revolution these were the key places to market your business. Historically your potential clients, would trawl through the telephone books. There was even a national marketing campaign about the ease of “letting your fingers do the walking”. If you wanted a particular good or service you turned to these yellow and white paged books to find the one nearest to you.

Today, people still do it this way yet with a modern twist they utilize technology and GOOGLE, BLING, or Yahoo their way to what they need. The benefit of this is that it is quick, easy and gives you immediate contact. The problem for many small organizations is they have no website or alternatively a poorly structured site that does not capitalize on search engine algorithms.

If you are not online and or if you are not making it easy for your clients to contact you, quite simply they won’t.

When developing your marketing strategy it’s not merely about advertising it is about your business image, your goals, your capabilities and most importantly obtaining and retaining clients.